By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Here at AZBEX, we pride ourselves on delivering our readers more detail and more accuracy than other outlets covering the Arizona A/E/C community. That might mean others get to a story first, but if we dedicate resources to an original, it’s pretty much guaranteed we’re going to tell you more about the project, trend or event than anyone else.
Of course, once in a while, that dedication to originality and industry tracking means we get to tell you first. In the days of 24-hour news cycles and instant information, a “scoop” isn’t the prized trophy it once was, but it’s still a thrill and a delight from the editorial side, and many of our readers have told me they get a thrill out of it, too.
Any time you see the “Exclusive” badge next to an article, that means we haven’t found the topic recently reported anywhere else prior to our story hitting the issue. While that’s usually the territory of planned projects and developments, sometimes it’s more than a new mixed-use here or roadway there.
The following is a list of just some of the major pieces we were able to bring you in 2018, and even though there are always changes on the horizon, you can rest assured 2019 will offer more — maybe even much more — of the same.
As far as we know, this was the first industrial development to specifically lay out in its submittals proximity to the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway was a major point of consideration in the development decision.
At the start of the year, there was still a lot of hoopla surrounding the White House’s intent to incentivize $1T in infrastructure spending. There was also a government shutdown, a lot of finger pointing from both sides of the aisle and little actually getting done. To quote Hunter S. Thompson quoting Alphonse Karr, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
Sometimes you get a major story with hefty detail just because you’re the only one who bothers to send a reporter.
By now everybody and their third cousin once-removed have reported on the redevelopment plan for Fiesta Village. We had the full development details and broke the story weeks before anyone else, even anyone else in the East Valley, bothered to look at it.
This was one where wanting to have the story perfect and the details laid out with comment and official responses almost bit us. A few days before this ran, a couple other outlets broke that something big was going to be built. Still, we were the only ones that had the plans, the specs, the background materials and the willingness to dig into them. I’m still getting asked, “How the heck did you pull that off?” by some colleagues. The short answer is: Good sources, a great research team and a willingness to give up a couple night’s sleep.
As an editor, it’s a rare blessing to have one of the state’s leading A/E/C market experts as my publisher. When she gets an itch to write a feature, I clear space and stand back.
A couple other outlets beat us to this one, but given the months of background and research we had poured into our K-12 Market Study not even six months before, we were the source pretty much everyone looked to for insight and evaluation. This topic will rear its head again later, but we’re still getting feedback on our overview.
Back during the hippie era, there was a popular slogan that went, “What if they threw a war and nobody came?” In this one we took a look at the question, “What if there were endless amounts of available jobs and no one to fill them?”
I told you that piece from May would show up again. Here, Rebekah took a look at the year of scandals the rolled out of Scottsdale Unified School District and led to the procurement law changes that are still hanging over the public projects segment of the industry.
Once again, we weren’t the first to get the press release, but we were the only outlet to tie together all the expansion and development plans for the whole area and tie them together in a way that gave our readers insights that reached far deeper than a single project, no matter how impressive that one project may have been.
The nicest thing about having a research staff that regularly scours development submittals from around the state? You occasionally get nuggets like the kickoff of a major development phase for one of the largest master plans in state history.
Remember what I said earlier about loving the fact that my publisher is also a leading industry expert? The thing I love most is that she’s a data and research geek who likes nothing more than the chance to comb through endless spreadsheets and then turn all that disparate data into readable English.
Development guidelines are supposed to consider the impact a proposal will have on an area. While individual projects are well considered, as a rule, some residents in one North Phoenix area think they’re about to get plowed under by the aggregate effects.
Pretty much the only thing better than working for Rebekah when she gets an investigative inspiration is working with her. This combo took us nearly two months longer to get ready for publication than we had originally planned, but we’re still getting both praise and pushback over what we uncovered and reported. When we wanted to just give up a couple of times during the process, we reminded ourselves we have an obligation to our readers to cover the good, the bad and the weird spaces between.
You’re the reason we do what we do, and that’s the reason you can expect more of the same from AZBEX in 2019.